2007 Texas A&M Aggies

Posted Dec 31, 2007

2007 Texas A&M Aggies Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2007 Texas A&M Aggies

Recap: The season Dennis Franchione had to have in order to save his job never materialized, pulling the plug on the Coach Fran era after five forgettable seasons.  After starting the year 5-1 against sub par competition, the Aggies retreated once the schedule got tougher, finishing 2-5, including an Alamo Bowl loss to Penn State.  Texas A&M was only able to get so far with one of the nation's top rushing attacks, needing more from a toothless defense that couldn't stop opposing quarterbacks or make enough plays behind the line.          

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Stephen McGee

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Chris Harrington

Biggest Surprise: After going six straight seasons without beating Texas, Texas A&M has now won two straight against its bitter rival.  Playing their best game of the year, the Aggies amassed 533 yards of offense behind a career passing day from McGee to outpunch the Longhorns, 38-30. 

Biggest Disappointment: In a marquee opportunity to pick up some national swagger, A&M barely showed up in a Thursday night game with Miami.  Looking like the same old Aggies, they fell behind 31-0 and managed only 240 yards of offense before scoring a couple of meaningless touchdowns against the Hurricane backups.    

Looking Ahead: The job of lighting a fire under the program now belongs to Mike Sherman, a former Aggie assistant who's spent much of the last decade in the NFL.  Although the returns of McGee and backs Jorvorskie Lane and Mike Goodson should bring the new coach comfort, they won't help depth issues on both lines that are going to crop up in 2008.

- 2007 A&M Preview
2006 A&M Season

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record: 7-6

Sept. 1 Montana State W 38-7
Sept. 8 Fresno St W 47-45 3OT
Sept. 15 UL Monroe W 54-14
Sept. 20 at Miami L 34-17
Sept. 29
Baylor W 34-10
Oct. 6 Oklahoma State W 24-23
Oct. 13 at Texas Tech L 35-7
Oct. 20 at Nebraska W 36-14
Oct. 27
Kansas L 19-11
Nov. 3 at Oklahoma L 42-14
Nov. 10 at Missouri L 40-26
Nov. 23
Texas W 38-30
Alamo Bowl
Dec. 29 Penn State L 24-17

Nov. 23
Texas A&M 38 ... Texas 30
Texas A&M got out to a 17-0 lead on a 35-yard pass play to Mike Goodson and a five-yard T.J. Sanders run, but it was two big pass plays in less than three minutes early in the fourth quarter that put the game away. Stephen McGee ran for a six-yard touchdown with 49 seconds to play in the third quarter, but Texas answered with a 91-yard kickoff return for a score from Quan Cosby. Just nine seconds into the fourth, McGee and Goodson hooked up for a 44-yard score, and on A&M's next drive, McGee connected with Earvin Taylor for a 66-yard bolt of lightning for an insurmountable 21-point lead. Marcus Griffin of Texas and A&M's Mark Dodge each came up with 14 tackles.
Player of the game: Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee completed 25 of 36 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions, and ran 15 times for 30 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 25-46, 362 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Mike Goodson, 12-72. Receiving: Earvin Taylor, 7-113, 1 TD
Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 17-32, 229 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Jamaal Charles, 17-92, 1 TD. Receiving: Jamaal Charles, 4-81
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Dennis Franchione will leave disappointing legacy of failed expectations and an inability to take the program to another level, but there will be a soft spot in the hearts of many Aggie fans for what he was able to pull off against Texas for two straight years. Ask Lloyd Carr how important it is to beat an archrival. Stephen McGee will now be known for what he's been able to do against the Longhorns with three straight fantastic performances. If the offense can click this well in the bowl game and if the Aggies can win, even without Franchione coaching the team, the downer of a season will have ended on a stunning high note.

Nov. 10
Missouri 40 ... Texas A&M 26
Missouri got a battle from Texas A&M, with the Aggies pulling within five late on a 42-yard Martellus Bennett touchdown catch, his second score of the day, but the Tigers pulled away with Jeremy Maclin's second touchdown catch of the game, scoring from 12 yards out to pull away for good. Maclin also set a Missouri record for the longest touchdown catch with an 82-yard play, on the second of Chase Daniel's three touchdown passes. Mizzou outgained A&M 555 yards to 380.
Player of the game: Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin caught five passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns, ran four times for 32 yards, returned four kickoffs for 82 yards, and returned a punt for seven yards.
Stat Leaders: Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 18-28, 247 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jorvorskie Lane, 12-50, 1 TD. Receiving: Mike Goodson, 5-67
Missouri - Passing: Chase Daniel, 27-35, 352 yds, 3 TD
Tony Temple, 22-141, 1 TD. Receiving: Martin Rucker, 6-54
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... A&M battled hard against Missouri, but didn't have enough defense, and not nearly enough defensive pressure, to throw Chase Daniel off his game. The running game was fine, but it wasn't nearly productive enough throughout and didn't control the ball in the fourth quarter. The season has quickly gone into the tank, losing three in a row and four of the last five, and if there's going to be an upset against Texas in two weeks, it'll be up to the defense. It has to find something it can do right.

Nov. 3
Oklahoma 42 ... Texas A&M 14
Oklahoma TE Jermaine Greshman tied a school record with four touchdown catches, scoring from three, 13, 38 and 13 yards out, and QB Sam Bradford added a fifth touchdown pass to Chris Brown on the way to a 35-0 lead going into the fourth quarter. Texas A&M got two scores on a 23-yard Martellus Bennett catch and a one-yard Chris Alexander run, but the game had already been decided long before. The Aggie twosome of Mike Goodson and Jorvorskie Lane were held to 56 yards on 12 carries.
Player of the game: Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham caught five passes for 80 yards and four touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 15-28, 155 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Stephen McGee, 16-71. Receiving: Martellus Bennett, 4-63, 1 TD
Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 21-30, 284 yds, 5 TD
Allen Patrick & DeMarco Murray, 15-70. Receiving: Jermiane Gresham, 5-80, 4 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The coaching staff appears to be convinced that Stephen McGee should be the entire offense. Forgetting that the defense didn't have a prayer of staying with Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham, and did nothing to disturb QB Sam Bradford, the running backs were relatively effective. Jorvorskie Lane averaged 5.6 yards per carry, but he only got the ball five times. There was never a real chance to establish Mike Goodson. To have a chance against Missouri or Texas, A&M has to get the running backs going early on. There simply isn't enough pop in the passing game to make up for a mediocre ground attack.

Oct. 27
Kansas 19 ... Texas A&M 11
Kansas outrushed Texas A&M 227 yards to 74 with Brandon McAnderson tearing off 183 yards with scores from six and three yards out. After a scoreless first half, the Jayhawks scored 19 straight points, helped by two Scott Webb field goals. A&M fought back with a 21-yard field goal and a 32-yard Roger Holland touchdown catch, followed up with a two-point conversion, but were unable to do anything with its final drive.
Player of the game: Kansas RB Brandon McAnderson ran 21 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a pass for five yards.
Stat Leaders: Kansas - Passing: Todd Reesing, 21-33, 180 yds
Rushing: Brandon McAnderson, 21-183, 2 TD. Receiving: Dezmon Briscoe, 6-49
Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 24-44, 244 yds, 1 TD
Mike Goodson, 9-33. Receiving: Martellus Bennett, 8-91
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... How could A&M only generate 74 rushing yards against Kansas? Stephen McGee is a fine passer, but A&M is a running team that failed to commit to the ground attack for a full four quarters. It was a strange gameplan, especially at home, and now things don't slow down with trips to Oklahoma and Missouri. Getting Jorvorskie Lane rumbling from the start is a must.

Oct. 20
Texas A&M 36 ... Nebraska 14
Texas A&M rumbled for 359 yards with Stephen McGee and Jorvorskie Lane each going over 100. Nebraska held an early lead on a three-yard Quentin Castille touchdown run to answer a two-yard Earvin Taylor scoring run with a blocked extra point. And then it was all A&M and its running game, with Lane rumbling for four touchdowns from one yard, two yards, four yards and a yard out. The Huskers made it close in the second quarter on a ten-yard Maurice Purify touchdown catch, but wouldn't get any closer. The Aggies held on to the ball for 21:03 in the second half.
Player of the game: Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee completed 13 of 22 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown and ran 35 times for 167 yards
Stat Leaders: Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 13-22, 100 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Stephen McGee, 35-167. Receiving: Pierre Brown, 4-49
Nebraska - Passing: Sam Keller, 26-44, 275 yds, 1 TD
Quentin Castille, 9-60, 1 TD. Receiving: Marlon Lucky, 13-125

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... After all the problems in the Texas Tech loss, A&M did what it does best against Nebraska by running, running and running some more. The only knock on a blowout game in Lincoln with 359 yards rushing was the workload. Stephen McGee shouldn't be running the ball 35 times when there are perfectly good backs in Mike Goodson, who only ran eight times, and Jorvoskie Lane to carry the mail. That worked this week, but it won't over the final month against Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.

Oct. 13
Texas Tech 35 ... Texas A&M 7
Texas A&M held a 7-0 first quarter lead after a long drive ended with a one-yard Jorvorskie Lane touchdown run. That would be all the fun the Aggies would have, as Texas Tech cranked out 35 unanswered points on three Graham Harrell touchdown passes, a one-yard run, and a one-yard Shannon Woods run. .The A&M ground game managed 344 yards, but couldn't keep pace one the Red Raider offense got rolling. Tech's Michael Crabtree didn't score, but he came up with a 54-yard pass play off a slant pattern that led to the Woods touchdown run with 25 left in the first half for a 21-7 Red Raider lead.
Player of the game: Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell completed 30 of 37 passes for 425 yards and three touchdowns, and he ran for a score
Stat Leaders: Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 17-30, 133 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Stephen McGee, 14-89. Receiving: Martellus Bennett, 4-35
Texas Tech - Passing: Graham Harrell, 30-37, 425 yds, 3 TD
Shannon Woods, 21-93, 1 TD. Receiving: Michael Crabtree,
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... As the Miami game showed a few weeks ago, when the running game isn't dominating, A&M is in trouble. Against Texas Tech, the defense didn't have an answer for Graham Harrell and the onslaught that kicked in after a 7-0 Aggie lead, and now it's do-or-die time at Nebraska to save the Big 12 season. That might sound extreme for a team with only one league loss, but the four best teams in the conference (Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas) finish things up. A&M has to start going on more long scoring drives, and the offense can't afford to get behind. The rally over Oklahoma State two weeks ago was the exception.

Oct. 6
Texas A&M 24 ... Oklahoma State 23
Jorvorskie Lane ran for two, one-yard scores and caught a ten-yard touchdown pass as A&M rallied from a 17-0 deficit for the win. OSU got up on Adarius Bowman touchdown catches from 29 and 47 yards out in the second quarter, but could only manage three Jason Ricks field goals the rest of the way. Ricks' 25-yard boot came with 3:11 to play, and OSU would never get it back. The defense came up with the stop and forced a punt, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave it back to A&M, and Lane ran out the clock.
Player of the game: Texas A&M RB Jorvorskie Lane ran for 77 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, and caught four balls for 35 yards and another score.
Stat Leaders: Oklahoma State - Passing: Zac Robinson, 10-17, 158 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Dantrell Savage, 21-110. Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 7-142, 2 TDs
Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 11-20, 169 yds, 1 TD
Jorvorskie Lane, 19-77, 2 TDs. Receiving: Kerry Franks, 4-120
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It might not have been easy, but after the ugly loss to Miami, and the struggles with Fresno State and Oklahoma State, A&M is still 5-1 going into the meat of the schedule. As good as the Aggie running game is supposed to be, the Cowboys were able to keep it under wraps, allowing just 150 yards, while gaining 200 of its own. A&M had better gear it up in a big hurry against Texas Tech, and it had better figure out how to cover someone right now. If Adarius Bowman can catch seven passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns, Tech's Michael Crabtree could go crazy.

Sept. 29
Texas A&M 34 ... Baylor 10
Texas A&M rumbled for 352 rushing yards, controlling the clock for 43:18, with Jorvorskie Lane rushing for a one-yard score, Stephen McGee and Jerrod Johnson adding short fourth quarter rushing touchdowns, and Mike Goodson taking a pass 58 yards for a touchdown. Baylor didn't move the ball well, but it got a Jay Finley three-yard touchdown run in the fourth to pull within ten. The A&M defense clamped down from there, and the running game kept the chains moving, converting 11 of 19 third down chances.
Player of the game: Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee went 16-of-28 for 200 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while rushing 17 times for 110 yards and another score.
Stat Leaders: Baylor - Passing: Blake Szymanksi, 12-35, 194 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Brandon Whitaker, 6-26. Receiving: David Gettis, 2-88
Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 16-28, 200 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Jorvorskie Lane, 24-123, 1 TD. Receiving: Keondra Smith, 4-6
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Now that's how it's supposed to work. The A&M running game pounded its way to an easy win over Baylor, controlling the clock, moving the chains, and keeping the Bear offense off the field. The Aggies even got a little out of the passing attack, with Stephen McGee working the ball around well for 200 yards. After the Miami debacle, there was bound to be a steady diet of Jorvorskie Lane running the ball, and now the formula has to work again next week against Texas Tech. The Aggies simply aren't good enough to get involved in a high-octane shootout; their games need to be kept under their control.

Sept. 20
Miami 34 ... Texas A&M 17
Miami dominated the first half with 24 points, helped by a flurry in the final five minutes off of A&M miscues. Graig Cooper and Javarris James each ran for short touchdowns, and Kyle Wright connected with Cooper for a 12-yard score and Chris Zellner for a seven-yard touchdown on the way to a 31-0 lead. Texas A&M came up with 17 fourth quarter points on a short Stephen McGee run and a Jerrod Johnson 33-yard chuck to Martellus Bennett with five seconds to play.
Player of the game: Miami QB Kyle Wright completed 21 of 26 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 11-20, 109 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Stephen McGee, 16-39, 1 TD. Receiving: Mike Goodson, 5-53
Miami - Passing: Kyle Wright, 21-26, 275 yds, 2 TD
Graig Cooper, 7-50, 1 TD. Receiving: Sam Shield, 6-117
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... What the heck was that? A&M came up with a weird gameplan for Miami, and it wouldn't change things up even when things were going poorly. Turnovers and a late first half meltdown ended the game, but it was basically over when the coaching staff decided not to pound the ball with Jorvorskie Lane. How could he only get two carries for two yards? The offensive line was getting dominated early on, but A&M needed to go to its strength and pound the ball, pound the ball, pound the ball. This was the type of loss that could tear the team apart, especially if there are problems against Baylor next week. Watch for Lane to get 20 carries against the Bears.

Sept. 15
Texas A&M 54 ... UL Monroe 14
Texas A&M ran for 310 yards and consistently rumbled all game long, getting six touchdown runs from five different players with Jorvorskie Lane running for two in the first half.  The Aggies scored ten in the first, 17 in the second, 14 in the third and 13 in the fourth, rolling for 34 straight points after Calvin Dawson tied it at seven late in the first quarter. A&M's Kerry Franks added a 20-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
Player of the game: Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee finished 19-of-33 for 237 yards, one touchdown and a pick, while running for 18 yards on four carries.
Stat Leaders: UL Monroe - Passing: Kinsmon Lancaster, 13-23, 116 yds, 2 INTs
Rushing: Calvin Dawson, 20-126, 1 TD. Receiving: Calvin Dawson, 5-42
Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 19-33, 237 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Mike Goodson, 11-113, 1 TD. Receiving: Martellus Bennett, 6-98

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Now that's what you're supposed to do after struggling so badly against Fresno State. UL Monroe had no prayer of slowing down the Aggie attack that averaged 7.4 yards per carry. The Aggies were able to empty the bench and five Mike Goodson and Jorvorskie Lane a little bit of rest, while the passing game got in some work with Stephen McGee throwing it 33 times. This was one of the best games the offense has played in a few years, and now the momentum has to keep rolling at Miami. Getting out to a hot start will be a must to force the Canes to throw.

Sept. 8
Texas A&M 47 ... Fresno State 45 3OT
In a wild game with several major momentum swings, Fresno State got into the end zone on Bear Pascoe's third touchdown catch of the game in the third overtime, but Tom Brandstater's two-point conversion attempt failed to click to allow the Aggies to escape. The Aggies appeared to have the game won in regulation after Jorvorskie Lane rumbled in for a five-yard score with under two minutes to play, but down 29-22, the Bulldogs went 80 yards in ten plays with Brandstater scrambling before finding Pascoe for a three-yard score with five seconds to play. A&M got a field goal on its overtime possession, and then the fun began as Fresno State appeared to have the ball down at the one as Marlon Moore dove just before getting into the end zone, lost the ball on to the Aggies before crossing the goal line, and then got a reprieve after the play was called back for a roughing the passer penalty. The Bulldogs ended up kicking a field goal, and then the two teams traded short touchdown runs in the second overtime. 
Player of the game: Texas A&M RB Jorvorskie Lane ran for 121 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries, and had a reception for eight yards.
Stat Leaders: Fresno State
- Passing: Tom Brandstater, 21-31, 260 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: Ryan Mathews, 11-66, 1 TD. Receiving: Bear Pascoe, 7-70, 3 TDs
Texas A&M
- Passing: Stephen McGee, 13-24, 79 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Stephen McGee, 16-124. Receiving: Martellus Bennett, 5-35
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The running game should've been able to close out Fresno State, and despite grinding out 318 yards, it almost wasn't enough. The secondary couldn't come up with a key late play, and it couldn't handle TE Bear Pascoe on seemingly every clutch pass. Normally, holding onto the ball for over 34 minutes and converting 11 of 20 third down conversions should lead to an easy A&M victory, but there will need to be more passing to have a chance at the tougher games ahead. That's why the UL Monroe game is vital; Stephen McGee has to quickly find his passing touch after completing just 52% of his passes in the first two games.

Sept. 1
Texas A&M 38 ... Montana State 7
Elliott Barnhart caught an eight yard touchdown pass less than five minutes into the game to give Montana State a 7-0 lead. And then it was all A&M. The Aggies scored 38 unanswered points as Stephen McGee tore off runs of 65 and three yards, Jorvorskie Lane pounded his way for a two-yard score, and Mike Goodson ran for an 18-yard touchdown to put it away. In garbage time, Terrence McCoy caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Jerrod Johnson.
Player of the game ... Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee completed 10 of 20 passes for 112 yards and ran nine times for 121 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Montana State - Passing: Jack Rolovich, 21-39, 267 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Demetrius Crawford, 13-47  Receiving: Josh Lewis, 5-86
Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 10-20, 112 yds
Stephen McGee, 9-121, 2 TD   Receiving: Earvin Taylor, 3-36

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
It might not have been Texas A&M's best performance in the win over Montana State, but the offense got the big running plays it needed to, averaging a whopping 7.5 yards per carry, and the defense did a nice job of bending but not breaking. Giving up 403 yards to a decent FCS team like MSU isn't that big a deal, but it would nice if the D could become a brick wall against Fresno State next week, and it would be really nice if Stephen McGee could be a bit more efficient after completing just half his passes.

Sept. 1 – Montana State

Sept. 8 - Fresno State
Offense: New offensive coordinator Jim McElwain will pump some life into a stagnant passing game with a wide-open attack featuring some funky, multi-receiver formations while not running quite as much. Call it playing to the strengths, as the receiving corps is lightning fast, but untested, while Tom Brandstater, who struggled mightily last year, is still a talent who appears ready to make a big jump and become a major player. The running game will suffer without Dwayne Wright, but Lonyae Wright and Clifton Smith should be decent. The line is the strength of the team with four starters returning to a group that allowed just 12 sacks.
Defense: After a tremendous 2005 season when the defense dominated, last year was a step back, especially in the secondary. Enough overall experience returns to be better, but the line has to do more to get into the backfield and the corners have to pick off more passes after taking away just three. There's plenty of speed and athleticism in the linebacking corps to swarm to the ball, and there's size and pass rushing ability from the front four, but there have to be more big plays and more takeaways.

Sept. 15 - UL Monroe
Offense: The best offense in the Sun Belt gets 11 starters back led by RB Calvin Dawson working behind a terrific line with several all-star candidates. QB Kinsmon Lancaster has a year of starting experience under his belt, and he has all his top targets to get the ball to including LaGregory Sapp and tight end Zeek Zacharie. While the attack will spread it out and allow Lancaster to use his mobility and big-time arm to find the right receiver, it'll be Dawson who carries the workload when things get tight.
Defense: The same problems ULM had last year appear to be the same issues going into this year with a questionable run defense and no proven pass rush, but the strength, the secondary, will be the same even without Kevin Payne and Chaz Williams. The 4-2-5 did its job against mediocre offenses, but got ripped apart by any offense with a pulse. Unless the line is better, the Warhawks will be pounded on by everyone in the Sun Belt.

Sept. 20 – at Miami
Offense: After a miserably inconsistent year finishing 87th in the nation in both total and scoring offense, the attack needs to play up to its talent level. The backfield will be amazing with Javarris James and true freshman Graig Cooper each good enough star for just about anyone in the country. The line has potential with two good tackles in Jason Fox and Reggie Youngblood to work around, and now the passing game has to be far better. The Kyle Wright vs. Kirby Freeman quarterback battle will be an ongoing debate, and the receiving corps has to step up and be better. Lance Leggett emerging as a true number one target would be a start.
Defense: The defense finished seventh in the nation last year despite not getting any help from the offense. The starting 11 should be good enough to shut everyone down, but there will be early concerns with the depth on the defensive line and the secondary. Safety Kenny Phillips and end Calais Campbell might be the two best defensive players in the nation, and everything will revolve around them; they must stay healthy. The linebacking corps might not have name stars, but it'll be a rock against the run with a good rotation of talents.

Sept. 29 - Baylor
Offense: After making the change to a Texas Tech-like passing attack, the Bears threw well, but did absolutely nothing for the running game, finishing dead last in the nation averaging just 40.17 yards per game. There will be more emphasis on running the ball, but this will still be a passing attack. First, BU has to find someone to throw, and someone to catch. It'll be a three-way battle for the starting quarterback job, with former Kent State Golden Flash Michael Machen the leader in the race, while the two star receivers of last season are gone. Several young players have to turn into reliable targets, while Brandon Whitaker has to try to provide some semblance of a rushing attack behind a line that should be a bit better.
Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush. Baylor didn't come up with any last year, and it affected the entire defense. With only 11 sacks and 51 tackles for loss, BU let opposing quarterbacks spend all day to throw, and the secondary struggled. Worse yet, the run defense was awful. Now, there's hope for improvement in the 4-2-5 alignment with promising tackles in Vincent Rhodes and Trey Bryant, along with tackling machine Joe Pawelek at linebacker. The secondary has more raw talent than last year, but not a lot of experience, so it'll be up to veteran ends Jason Lamb and Geoff Nelson to finally produce some sort of pressure on the quarterback.

Oct. 6 - Oklahoma State
Offense: The potential is there for the nation's 16th best offense and seventh best scoring attack to be even better. Quarterback Bobby Reid lived up to the hype last season and proved he could be a star. While he loses a great target in D'Juan Woods, he gets Adarius Bowman back to go along with a slew of speedy but unproven receivers to stretch the field. The 1-2 rushing punch of Dantrell Savage and Keith Toston is among the fastest and most dangerous in America running behind a decent line that has experience, but will be a work in progress to find the right starting combination.
Defense: If nothing else, the defense was certainly interesting with an aggressive style that produced a ton of sacks, plenty of tackles for loss, and gave up too many big plays. New defensive coordinator Tim Beckman will tone things down a little bit while still taking the fight to the offense. The back seven will be terrific with a fantastic linebacking corps, even with top middle man Rodrick Johnson playing end and star Chris Collins trying to get through knee and off-the-field problems, while the secondary will strong as long as injuries don't hit the safeties. Experience on the line, especially at tackle, will be an issue early on, but the starting ends, Marque Fountain and Nathan Peterson, will be all-stars.

Oct. 13 – at Texas Tech
Offense: On the surface, there might appear to be a world of problems. The quarterback situation is allegedly up for grabs, the star running back practiced like he was too secure and got booted to third string, almost all the top receivers are gone, and four starters have to be replaced on the line. Don't shed too many tears. Graham Harrell had a great spring and will be the staring quarterback once again, Shannon Woods will get back in everyone's good graces this fall and be a top back, and Michael Crabtree might be the best receiver the program has had in several years. Of course, it all goes kaput if the line doesn't come together quickly, but Mike Leach and his coaching staff have dealt with worse. There might be question marks, but there's also a whole bunch of talented prospects. This will be one of the nation's five best passing offenses once again, but it might not be consistent.
Defense: This D will be a major part in several shootouts, and not in a good way. The secondary will be the strength, and it's not even close, with a pair of all-star safeties in Darcel McBath and Joe Garcia, along with star corner Chris Parker. The front seven is a major problem, especially the defensive line, with no depth and only one starter returning. The linebacking corps isn't all that big, but it's fast and should be good in time. Expect good running teams to be able to rumble at will.

Oct. 20 – at Nebraska
Offense: From possibly losing star receiver Maurice Purify for being a knucklehead off the field, to losing leading rusher Brandon Jackson to the NFL, promising runner Kenny Wilson to a broken leg while moving a TV, and starting guard Matt Huff to a blown out Achilles (though he might be back), it's been a rough off-season for the offense. Even with all the problems, the offense will roll if, and it's a screaming if, the once-promising tackle prospects come through and the starting 11 stays healthy. Top back Marlon Lucky can't be counted on for a full season, while backup Cody Glenn is already hobbling with a foot problem. There's no one of note behind them. The line had to do some shuffling after a variety of injuries, meaning the ground game could struggle at times. Fortunately, former Arizona State mad bomber Sam Keller is at the helm with a speedy, veteran receiving corps to work with. Don't be shocked if the attack becomes one-dimensional at some point this year. That might not be a bad thing.
Defense: Defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove is about throwing different looks at offenses over the last few years, and while he loses all four starters off a great front four, he has more talent and depth to work with. The strength is in the linebacking corps, where Bo Ruud, Corey McKeon, Steve Octavien and Lance Brandenburgh will control the defense. There's speed to burn in the secondary, but the defensive backs haven't played up to their potential or athleticism over the last few years. This will be one of the Big 12's better defenses, but it still might not be close to the killer of some of the great Husker teams of the past.

Oct. 27 - Kansas
Offense: After spending last year running the ball, new offensive coordinator Ed Warinner will try to stretch the field more with a big, experienced group of receivers. The big question will be who the quarterback will be throwing to them. Sophomores Kerry Meier and Todd Reesing are talented, mobile passers who can do a little of everything well, but they'll be in a battle for the starting job up until the opener. The other big question mark is at running back, where Jon Cornish and his 1,457 yards and eight scores will be replaced by Jake Sharp (fast) and Brandon McAnderson (powerful). The line is nothing special, but the tackles are experienced and solid.
The defense had to go through a little bit of a rebuilding phase last season, and while the overall results weren't terrific, and too many yards were allowed, it wasn't as bad as it might have appeared. The secondary gave up more yards than anyone in America, but it gets Aqib Talib back at corner to go along with an upgrade in speed at the other three spots. The linebacking corps, by design, is small on the outside with a slew of safety-sized defenders designed to fly to the ball. They have to hold up better when they're getting pounded on. James McClinton is a star at tackle who should set the tone for the front seven.

Nov. 3 – at Oklahoma
Offense: If a quarterback comes through and shines, this could be the nation's most effective offense. If the offensive line isn't the best in college football, it's number two, the running backs are very fast and very talented, and the receiving corps, led by top pro prospect Malcolm Kelly, is very big and very fast. It all comes down to the quarterback battle between junior Joey Halzle and redshirt freshman Sam Bradford. Whichever one can be steady will get the plum gig with a chance to lead the loaded attack in a national title chase.
Defense: It'll be an interesting defense that has the potential to be a killer, but has some major concerns. The secondary should be among the best in America with enough size, speed, and talent to keep the NFL scouts buzzing. DeMarcus Granger is a rising superstar tackle who should combine with Gerald McCoy, Cory Bennett and Steven Coleman to stuff up everything on the inside. If the unknown ends come though with a halfway decent season, and the untested linebacking corps is nearly as good as last year's, look out.

Nov. 10 – at Missouri
Offense: If all the parts are working as expected, this should be one of the nation's five most productive offenses with an embarrassment of riches to work with. Junior QB Chase Daniel is growing into a star leader with more than enough weapons to choose from. The tight end combination of Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman is the best in the nation, Will Franklin can fly on the outside, and Tony Temple leads a small, quick backfield that'll rip through the holes created by a talented, experienced line. The problems? Consistency and proven play in crunch time. The numbers are going to be there, but they have to come against the top teams in the big games.
Defense: The whole will be greater than the sum of the parts. A pass rush will emerge eventually from the outside linebackers as well as end Stryker Sulak, while Brock Christopher has the makings of an All-Big 12 performer at middle linebacker. The secondary will be fine thanks to the return of starting corners Darnell Terrell and Hardy Ricks, but replacing safeties David Overstreet and Brandon Massey won't be easy. There's tremendous speed and athleticism in the back seven, several good young players to get excited about among the backups, and an excellent tackle pair in Evander Hood and Lorenzo Williams to anchor things up front. Now the D has to prove it can come through on a consistent basis against the top teams.

Nov. 23 - Texas
Offense: This might be the best offense yet under head coach Mack Brown, with one bump in the road: the line. The starting five will be fine, but there's absolutely no depth at tackle. While that's the concern, the skill players will be fantastic with a deep, talented receiving corps that welcomes back the top four targets, Jamaal Charles and a speedy backfield, and Colt McCoy to lead the show. Now a seasoned veteran, McCoy will run more than last year while making more plays on the move. Expect plenty of scoring, plenty of explosiveness, and a top five finish in total offense ... as long as the line holds up.
Defense: Duane Akina goes from co-defensive coordinator to the head man in charge, and there will be changes. Last year's defense was all about stopping the run, and the talented secondary got torched. This year's D will focus on doing everything, with an eye towards being more aggressive and generating more pressure. The strength is at tackle and in the linebacking corps, with NFL caliber talent that should keep the Longhorns among the nation's leaders against the run. The ends will be fine, in time, and they'll get to pin their ears back and go to the quarterback. All the pressure should help out a secondary in transition, with only one starter returning from a group that loses Thorpe Award winner Aaron Ross and All-American Michael Griffin.



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